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How to Start a Service Business

A service business acts in many ways like a manufacturing business at the beginning of its development. It is when you get into the nitty gritty that the many differences appear. These four major steps are key to starting any service business.

Service Opportunity

It has to start with a solid opportunity. While many entrepreneurs feel a desire to start a certain business, they are doing so out of their own interest rather than a need in the market which calls for that venture. Your proposed service must be needed by customers - whether they are local to your company or global. No amount of desire on the part of the entrepreneur for the business to succeed can create an opportunity out of thin air where none truly exists.

Service Design

Before training an employee, building a website or store, or even securing funding, the service entrepreneur needs to design the service itself. When designing a product, the need for this step is a bit clearer. Product design includes the physical attributes of the product (aesthetics, ergonomics, reliability, function, etc) and is directly geared toward meet customer needs. The attributes of a service are often not physical, and include decisions about the entire service system such as the facility location and layout, scheduling, worker skills, quality control, demand and capacity planning, level and type of frontline personnel discretion and customer participation in the process. Some of these aspects only affect customers indirectly. However, only with these concepts in place can an entrepreneur move on to the next step.

Service Business Plan

The business plan will act much like that of a manufacturing business, except that a detailed description of these service delivery systems will replace detailed description of a product. The business plan is oriented around the goal of clarifying the business for partners and funders, although elements of the plan are expected to change over time as learning continues.

Funding Your Service Business

Finally, shopping this business plan to potential funders, whether they are family and friends, angel investors, or bank and other lenders, should be a much more successful process once these first three steps are considered fully. With a solid opportunity, well-mapped out service design, and compelling business plan, funding should be available, although no entrepreneur can expect each funder approached to give a “yes”.

Want more tips? Here's a related article: Service Business Plan

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